Frank Grube (TRADING CARD DB)

Frank Grube

This article was written by Michael Tow

Frank Grube (TRADING CARD DB)“I know I’ve been a chump for a long time,” said Frank Grube on the verge of making the St. Louis Browns in April 1941, “and I know I’ve got some good baseball left in me. You don’t know how tough it is,” Grube continued, looking back on the past four years he had spent out of major-league baseball, “until you’ve handled a shovel in the Chicago stockyards, or battled steel in a Pennsylvania mill, like I did last winter. You find out what a great thing baseball is, and what a goof anybody is to let it get away from him.”1

Grube’s self-assessment aside, he had accomplished much before his professional baseball career was even a year old: perfect attendance in all 12 of his years in the Easton, Pennsylvania, public schools, lettering in three sports at Lafayette College, an All-American honorable mention, and starting left end for the 1928 New York Yankees of the National Football League.2 Once his professional baseball career began in 1928, Grube spent 14 years in the game, including parts of seven seasons in the major leagues, primarily as a backup catcher with the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Browns.

Franklin Thomas Grube was born January 7, 1905, in Easton, Pennsylvania. Frank was the first of three sons born to George Grube, a detective for the Easton Police Department who himself had a notable career as a catcher on several amateur teams, and the Irish-born Mariah (Coyle) Grube, who died unexpectedly days before Frank’s graduation from Lafayette in 1927.3 The Grubes were of German descent, with roots in the Lehigh Valley reaching back to 1753.4

Grube graduated from Easton High School in 1922 and stayed in town to attend Lafayette College, where “the growing-up process was a slow one, but the bud finally blossomed and out stepped ‘Hans,’ a man who can play three sports, and play one as well as the other.”5 As a freshman, Grube earned a varsity letter playing in the Maroons outfield under the direction of former Senators and Tigers third baseman Bill Coughlin, but flunked out in March of his sophomore year.6

Back on College Hill for the fall 1924 term, Grube became “a shark at mathematics” while studying civil engineering.7 He also tried out for the football team at the request of new coach Herb McCracken and lettered for the newly named Leopards as a right end who “has power and is a good pass receiver.”8

In the spring, Grube moved to the infield and played a solid third base, especially in the April 25, 1924, game against Temple University. Grube had two hits, stole a base, scored a pair of runs, twice sacrificed himself, and “starred in the field” with three putouts and two assists.9 The next week Grube was elected vice president of the Lafayette Athletic Association for the upcoming academic year.10

Grube, at 5-feet-9 and 170 pounds, continued to improve during his junior year.11 Coach McCracken praised the “battler” who “has come through wonderfully this year and with experience should make a great end.”12 Grube preserved the Leopards’ undefeated record on October 17 against Colgate when he caught a 20-yard pass from quarterback Frank Kirkleski, ran five yards, then “fell across the goal line with several tacklers clinging to him.”13

With Charlie Berry having graduated the previous fall, Grube and his “sure peg” did the catching in the spring of 1926.14 Not only was Grube a strong defender, his bat also helped the Leopards win games over Catholic University, Rutgers, St. Joseph’s College, and Muhlenberg College. His play not only impressed his teammates, who elected him captain for the next year, but John McGraw also caught wind of the 20-year-old catcher and invited him to the Polo Grounds in August.15 Giants’ coach Roger Bresnahan said Grube “had the real makings of a big leaguer,” and McGraw urged Grube to finish his studies and not sign with any other team before the Giants had the chance to do so the next June.16

Following a summer working at the Bangor Cement Mill and playing in the outfield, at third base, and catching for the town’s Pennsylvania State League entrant, Grube returned to Lafayette for his senior year.17 He earned an All-American honorable mention on the gridiron for his left end play and for drop kicking three “breath taking” field goals—two at 48 yards and another at 45 yards—for the undefeated Leopards.18

In Coach Coughlin’s early March workouts, Captain Grube was “tagging the pill with telling effect,” and he continued to do so throughout the season.19 From his double in the season opener against Temple, through his 4-for-4 performance against Lehigh on May 21, to hitting a run-scoring double in the season’s final game against Muhlenberg, Grube remained a “hard and timely hitter” all season to the tune of a .375 average.20

Grube reported to the Polo Grounds on June 15 with Lafayette teammate, pitcher Kenneth “Hick” Yeisley.21 Both boys impressed McGraw, and both were assigned to Norfolk, but only on paper.22 Grube stayed on to warm up the Giants’ pitchers while Yeisley pitched batting practice for the remainder of the season.23

Baseball rules set March 1 as the deadline for players to receive contracts for the upcoming season. When Grube hadn’t heard from either the Giants or Norfolk by March 4, 1928, he went south to join the St. Louis Cardinals’ spring training camp at the urging of Cardinals scout Charles Kelchner.24 The day before he reached Cards’ camp in Avon Park, Florida, however, his contract—postmarked February 27—arrived in Easton. It had originally been delivered to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where Grube had been living while coaching at Dickinson College.

Back on the train, Grube went to Norfolk only to learn his contract had been sold to Portsmouth, also of the Virginia League.25 Grube got to Portsmouth, got situated, and got into the Truckers’ fourth game of the season on April 25. Showing no signs of fatigue after all the travel, Grube went 10-for-16 in his first six games, including two hits off his old teammate, Hick Yeisley, of Norfolk. Grube hit his first professional home run off Yeisley on May 22, and was batting .310 on June 2, the day he was sold to the Hartford (Connecticut) Senators of the Class-A Eastern League.26

Grube’s time in Hartford barely lasted longer than his time with Norfolk: four innings in a June 10 exhibition against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and one official game on June 15 in which he singled in two at-bats.27 Meanwhile, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, George Burns was managing the Grays, a Giants farm team, and was in desperate need of a backup for aging catcher Mike Wilson. Burns wired McGraw and Grube arrived on June 19.28

Grube made just one error in his first 19 games with Portsmouth, but the 23-year-old catcher committed five in his first five games with the Grays, including a dropped throw on a force play in his debut that allowed the winning run to score.29 Grube finished with the second-lowest fielding average (.930) among catchers in the New York-Pennsylvania League, but did accrue a .307 batting average in his first professional season.30

Seemingly out of nowhere, Grube, who had not played football in two years – since his senior year at Lafayette – appeared in 11 games for the New York (football) Yankees in the winter of 1928, playing both end positions.31 When Grube made his big-league debut three years later, he became the 38th player to appear in both the National Football League and Major League Baseball.32

Grube returned to the Eastern League in 1929 with the Bridgeport Bears. The Giants had bought the Bears in January when owner Fred Voos sold the club without the consent—or knowledge—of four investors who helped keep the team afloat the previous summer.33 The Bears then purchased Grube so he could play under the watchful eye of their manager, McGraw’s close friend, Hans Lobert.34 With Bridgeport, Grube emerged as a clutch hitter, driving in more runs (50) than any other catcher in the league, and winning at least five games for the Bears with late-inning, game-winning hits. Grube “flashed such a fine article of ball behind, and at the plate,” that he received six votes for league most valuable player.35

It was onward and upward for Grube in 1930. He advanced to the Buffalo Bisons of the highly competitive Class-AA International League. At the close of spring training, Grube was hitting .563, and when the games started counting, Grube started slugging like never before.36 He hit in each of his first 14 games – with seven doubles, two triples, and two home runs – and never let up. In 104 games, Grube hit .348, slugged .525, and made the International League All-Star team as “one of the best catchers to come in the league in a long time.”37

Despite Grube’s strong season, in which he was described as “an aggressive hustler” with a “rifle arm [and] fine batting eye,” the Giants showed no real interest in promoting—or even protecting—him.38 Instead, New York retained both Shanty Hogan and Bob O’Farrell for 1931 and left Grube exposed to the Rule 5 draft, which allowed major league clubs to take one player from each of the 24 Double-A teams. The draft became a major point of contention leading up to the winter meetings in Montreal, with officials from the American Association, International League, and Pacific Coast League demanding the price paid for drafted prospects be doubled to $10,000.39 Particularly peeved was Buffalo team president, Frank Offerman, who said the draft had “ruined the Bisons every time we have molded a good combination.”40 Offerman cited Al Moore, Ollie Tucker, Herb Thomas, and George “Showboat” Fisher as recent examples of players that Buffalo had either lost in the draft outright or sold to avoid being taken in the draft. Unwilling to lose Grube for the “paltry sum” of $5,000, Offerman sold him to the Chicago White Sox for $20,000.41

Grube, now up to 190 pounds, arrived at the Sox spring training camp in San Antonio as the high-priced rookie looking to compete with Moe Berg, Walter “Butch” Henline, and Victor Siegel as backup to Bennie Tate.42 Sportswriters were confident that the quintet would produce the best catching contingent on the south side of Chicago since Hall of Famer Ray Schalk was in his prime. Even “a nitwit could see the difference,” added manager Donie Bush.43

No sooner had Grube arrived than he became the “center of attention” for an unflattering story circulated in over 600 newspapers.44 Claire Burcky of the Newspaper Enterprise Association, a Cleveland-based syndicate, wrote a story portraying Grube as an egotistical blowhard whose “loquacious and cocksure” attitude resembled that of habitual braggart Art (The Great) Shires.45 Included were such claims as Grube believing himself better than Mickey Cochrane and that after Grube would warm up the Giants pitchers during his summer trial in 1927, he would take off his uniform and pout to friends in the stands about how he was a better catcher than any on the Giants roster. John C. Hoffman of the Chicago Daily News defended the “bewildered” Grube, saying he was the “exact opposite” of Shires, while Grube himself maintained he neither knew nor ever met Burcky.46

Beyond the drama in the papers, Grube hit .407 that spring and made the team as Tate’s backup.47 Grube debuted on May 12, going hitless with a walk against future Hall of Famer Lefty Grove in Chicago’s 5-2 defeat to the Philadelphia Athletics at Comiskey Park. On May 27, the right-handed swinging Grube doubled against the Detroit Tigers’ Earl Whitehill for his first big-league hit. At Yankee Stadium on September 12, he took Ivy Andrews deep for his only career home run. The adjustment to major-league pitching cost Grube at the plate, however; he hit only .219 in 88 games. Grube did prove solid defensively, though, and baserunners trying to score on him looked “just like a motor car hitting one of those stone safety islands,” with the runners somersaulting away.48

Although the season had officially ended, there remained one series left to be played in Chicago: the exhibition City Series that had been played between the White Sox and Cubs almost every October since 1903.49 The White Sox had finished last in the American League, while the third-place Cubs were favored to win their third straight City Series in 1931. The series went the full seven games before the White Sox clinched on October 6. Afterward, Grube, the “solid, stolid youth with a glum, sullen face that belies the go-get-’em eagerness it masks,” was donned the “hero” of the series by his teammates for “his live wire stuff [that] had us on our toes all the time.”50 Grube’s “live wire stuff” nearly got him suspended by acting commissioner William Bramham. With the Sox looking to clinch in Game Six, the Cubs took an early lead on Danny Taylor’s second-inning home run. Three batters later, Cubs pitcher Guy Bush walked on a knee-high pitch and Grube lost it.51 He shoved home plate umpire George Hildebrand twice and took a swing at him before White Sox manager Bush could get between them. Grube swung at his manager and coach Mike Kelly as well before four teammates wrestled Grube to the dugout.52

Before the aggression against Hildebrand, Grube could count on one hand the number of times he had been ejected from a game in his professional career. None of his previous infractions were as egregious as attempting to assault an umpire, however, and for that, Bramham fined Grube $100. It was the type of behavior that would lead a reflective person to label oneself a chump.

The following spring, new White Sox manager Lew Fonseca vowed to “turn his loud speaker loose” after learning Grube “was the best wise cracker in the league” who “gave most batters the heebie jeebies,” causing them to lose their poise.53 Fonseca also vowed to get more offense from his catchers and attempted to convert awkward, yet heavy-hitting, outfielder Smead Jolley into a catcher, an experiment that went so poorly it made Grube look like “a bounding rocket.”54 Jolley was sent back to the outfield, and when Tate smashed a finger toward the end of spring training, Grube became the main Sox receiver.55

After going 4-for-4 on April 16, Grube managed only three hits the rest of the month, again underscoring the Sox’ need for a harder-hitting catcher. On April 30, the team made its fourth deal in nine days, sending Tate, Jolley, Johnny Watwood, and $7,500 to Boston for outfielder Jack Rothrock and the centerpiece of the deal, Charlie Berry. It was Grube who had replaced Berry as Lafayette’s catcher after the latter had graduated, and now it would be Berry replacing Grube as the Sox’ primary catcher six years later.56 With Berry (and sometimes Billy Sullivan) spelling Grube the rest of the way, Grube had the best offensive season of his career, hitting .306 after the trade and .282 overall in 93 games.

During Grube’s career year in 1932, he also participated in an incident that American League President Will Harridge said was “without parallel during his 21 years in baseball.”57 In the bottom of the ninth of the second game of a Memorial Day doubleheader in Cleveland, the Indians’ Earl Averill took a borderline pitch that umpire George Moriarty ruled a ball rather than the third strike the White Sox believed it to be. Averill tripled in the tying runs on the next pitch and scored the winning run three batters later. After the game, Moriarty, who had earlier cussed Berry and White Sox pitcher Hal McKain and ejected coach Johnny Butler, left the field through the tunnel leading to the players’ clubhouse. In the tunnel, Berry confronted Moriarty about the pitch to Averill and Moriarty challenged the entire White Sox team to a fight. Pitcher Milt Gaston answered the call, and Moriarty broke his hand connecting with Gaston’s jaw. In response, Berry, Grube, and Fonseca knocked Moriarty to the ground and proceeded to kick, stomp, and spike him. When the melee was quelled, Moriarty was taken to the hospital and Harridge was on the next train to Cleveland. Gaston was suspended 10 days and both he and Fonseca were fined $500. Berry was fined $250, Grube $100, and Moriarty received a “severe reprimand” for “neglect in performance of duty on the ball field,” and, as reported later, was suspended without pay for 10 days.58

On November 24, 1932, Grube married Jessie Lorraine Goddard, a pre-med student from Kellyville, Oklahoma, working as an x-ray technician in a Chicago doctor’s office.59 Three months later, he reported to the White Sox’ new spring training home in Pasadena, California, where the Sox advertised “no catching worries” for 1933, and carried Berry and Grube—who combined to hit an acceptable .286 in 1932—as their only catchers.60 Through Grube’s first 10 games (12-for-36), it looked as if he had found the stroke that put him in the .300 class of hitters in the minor leagues, but he faded fast and hit just .230 in 85 games. His defense improved, however, with only five errors in 669 innings, for a .984 fielding average.

Tragedy again struck the Grube family on July 30, 1933, when Grube’s younger brother, Horace, died of an apparent heart attack while swimming in Bloomsbury, New Jersey.61 Horace was a standout pitcher at Temple University and had planned to join the White Sox following graduation. Being one of only two catchers on the roster at the time, Frank was unable to attend the funeral.

Before departing Chicago for his San Francisco home after the season concluded, Fonseca sat down with White Sox owner Lou Comiskey to discuss the next season’s roster. Fonseca did not hesitate when striking Grube’s name from the list after “the squatty, stolid catcher” hit just .244 through three Southside seasons.62 On November 16, Grube was traded to the St. Louis Browns for catcher Merv Shea, who, coincidentally, was also a .244 hitter at the time.63

Grube was excited to play under Browns manager Rogers Hornsby, and pledged to hit over .300 playing for the man who had given him pointers when the kid Grube was tagging along with the 1927 Giants.64 Grube struggled at the plate all season, but “ran neck-and-neck with [fellow catcher] Rollie Hemsley to burn the candle at both ends.”65 One such carousal ended with a drunk and disorderly conduct charge for Hemsley and an increase in playing time for Grube. After an August 22 game in Philadelphia, an overindulged Hemsley was arrested for fighting the policeman attempting to stop him from driving intoxicated.66 Hornsby bailed Hemsley out of jail and suspended him, and Grube did “remarkable work” catching every inning of the Browns’ next 12 games (nine of which the Browns won) and going 18-for-41 to pull his average up to .301.67 Grube resumed backup duty when Hemsley returned on September 2, and collected just nine hits the rest of the season to finish with a .288 average in 65 games.

A month into the 1935 season, it was clear Hemsley was having a banner year and well on his way to his first of five career All-Star selections. Hemsley appeared in each of the Browns’ first 20 games (starting 19) and was hitting .359 on May 16, the day the Browns released Grube. The Browns were in need of pitching—as they were for much of their existence—and with the emergence of rookie catcher Tommy Heath, Grube was discarded to make room for Russ Van Atta, a left-hander St. Louis had purchased from the Yankees.68

Grube was idle for a month before catcher Luke Sewell, in his first season with the White Sox, pulled a thigh muscle on June 14. Merv Shea, whom the Sox acquired when they traded Grube in 1933, replaced Sewell, and Grube was brought in to back up Shea.69 In all, Grube worked in nine games (five starts) for the White Sox.

At the close of the 1935 season, Grube’s weight was up to 205. When he boarded the White Sox team train to Pasadena the next February, he had lost 10 pounds and became the talk of the train.70 Grube was slimmer than anyone on the team remembered having ever seeing him, showing he was serious about securing a roster spot after spending six weeks getting into shape back home in Easton.71

Grube successfully earned a contract, but with “rigorous clauses” that he stay in shape.72 The White Sox knew Grube could still be productive—he hit .368 in nine Sox games the year before—so they signed him to back up the aging Sewell in 1936 while Shea became the third-string receiver. Grube caught 229 innings and committed just one error, but hit only .161. In November, Grube, along with Bill Shores and Lee Chandler, was traded to the Dallas Steers of the Texas League for catcher Tony Rensa.73

Grube did not report to the Steers until late in spring training, and was 20 pounds overweight when he did.74 Considered the “rankest disappointment of the early season,” Grube was sold to the last-place Baltimore Orioles on a trial basis on May 16.75 Grube remained in Baltimore to help guide their struggling pitchers until he was released on June 14.76 A week later, Grube joined Buffalo, where he had starred in 1930, but stuck for only a month before he was again released. Grube next signed with the American Association’s Columbus Red Birds for the remainder of their championship season.77 All told, Grube played well defensively (.960 fielding percentage) as a second- and third-string catcher for all four teams in 1937 while hitting .203.78

Believed to be “on his way out” of baseball after he backed up Herman Franks with the Sacramento Solons in 1938, Grube kept getting calls from desperate teams.79 When Albert Tolles was fired after the Class-D Jonesboro (Arkansas) White Sox finished last in the first half of 1939, Grube got the call to manage and catch, and finished the season as a Northeast Arkansas League All-Star with his .320 batting average.80 In 1940, the Toledo Mud Hens (the Browns’ American Association affiliate) called on Grube in August after both of their catchers, Bus Payton and Hal Spindel, were injured.81 Grube did not commit an error in what were then thought sure to be the final 15 games of his career.82

In February 1941, Grube went to San Antonio as a special instructor for the St. Louis Browns’ young catchers Bob Swift and Joe Grace.83 The Browns had no real intention of signing the 36-year-old Grube to a contract, but when a series of unusual ailments beset Grace, Grube, who had done well and was showing his “old-time aggressive tactics,” was signed up three days before Opening Day.84 Grube made 14 starts for the Browns through the end of May, then was sent down to their San Antonio Missions farm team in the Texas League shortly after St. Louis traded for Rick Ferrell. Grube played the final 18 games of his career with the Missions and received his final ejection and fine on August 25 when he threw his bat after being called out on strikes.85

With Frank out of baseball in 1942 and the demand for war-production labor high, the Grubes moved to New York City. Frank found work in the shipyards while Lorraine worked as a nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital.86 Around 3 a.m. on July 1, 1945, a commotion outside the Grimes Building, where the Grubes lived, drew the attention of building manager Edward Garthwaite, who told six men congregating on the front steps to leave.87 An hour later, while Grube was visiting Garthwaite’s apartment, footsteps were heard in the hallway. When Grube stepped out to see who was approaching, he was shot by one of the six men Garthwaite had told to leave. Grube, 40, died the next day and was taken home to Easton to be buried in Easton Cemetery. Grube left behind his wife, father, and brother, Sigurd. His murder remains unsolved.

 

Acknowledgments

This biography was reviewed by Malcolm Allen and Rory Costello and checked for accuracy by SABR’s fact-checking team.

 

Sources

Allentown (Pennsylvania) Morning Call

Baltimore Sun

Baseball-Reference.com

Chicago Daily News

Chicago Daily Times

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Richmond Times-Dispatch

 

Notes

1 W. Vernon Tietjen, “Frank Grube, Forgotten Man of Baseball, Trying to Come Back as Browns’ Catcher at Age of 33 [sic],” St. Louis Star-Times, April 1, 1941: 13.

2 “Easton News,” Allentown (Pennsylvania) Morning Call, June 18, 1922: 15; “Lafayette Athlete to Sign with the Giants,” Shamokin (Pennsylvania) Dispatch, August 17, 1926: 2; and “Frank Grube,” Pro Football Reference (website), accessed December 19, 2021, https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/G/GrubFr20.htm.

3 “Frank Thomas Grube,” World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947, Ancestry.com; “Former Athlete an Active Candidate,” Allentown Morning Call, August 14, 1915: 8; and “Obituary,” Allentown Morning Call, June 8, 1927: 7.

4 “Johannes Peter Grub Sr.,” Find a Grave (website), accessed December 19, 2021, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/89030356/johannes-peter-grub; and “SAMANTnew” Public Member Tree, Ancestry.com, accessed December 19, 2021.

5 The Lafayette yearbook, The Melange, is the only known appearance of Grube being referred to as Hans. Nothing is known of the nickname’s origin. The 1927 Melange (Easton, PA: The Senior Class at Lafayette College, 1927): 76.

6 “Coughlin has Tough Job in Hand at Lafayette,” Scranton (Pennsylvania) Times, March 17, 1924: 21; and “Lafayette Will Lose Star Athletes,” Wilkes-Barre (Pennsylvania) Times-Leader, May 11, 1924: 22.

7 Irving Vaughan, “Things You May Not Know About the White Sox,” Chicago Tribune, May 15, 1933: 21.

8 Evan Burian, “Life of Former Easton, Lafayette, Pro Athlete Frank Grube Came to Tragic End 70 Years Ago,” Morning Call, June 28, 2015, https://www.mcall.com/sports/mc-easton-grube-pro-baseball-murder-1945-20150628-story.html; “Award of Letters Made by Lafayette,” Allentown Morning Call, December 22, 1924: 19; “Leopard is New Symbol of Maroon; Students Choose,” Pittston (Pennsylvania) Gazette, October 23, 1924: 8; and “Lafayette Losing Four Aces Through Graduation,” Altoona (Pennsylvania) Tribune, November 26, 1924: 9.

9 “‘Hick’ Yeisley Wins for Lafayette Nine,” Allentown Morning Call, April 26, 1924: 9.

10 “Bob Duffy Named Lafayette A.A. Head,” Allentown Morning Call, May 9, 1925: 15.

11 “Lafayette Eleven Shows Class on College Grids,” Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, November 19, 1925: 21.

12 “Lafayette Coach Talks to Kiwanis,” Allentown Morning Call, October 1, 1925: 18.

13 “Maroon Saved from Defeat by Spirited Third Period Rush,” Philadelphia Enquirer, October 18, 1925: S1.

14 “Glen Lyon Boy May Win Place on College Nine,” Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, March 24, 1926: 21.

15 “Lafayette Blanks Rutgers, 6 to 0,” Allentown Morning Call, June 6, 1926: 11; and A.M. Powell, “Frank Grube to Report to Grant [sic] Club,” Pittsburgh Press, August 15, 1926: Sporting Section, Page 8.

16 A.M. Powell, “Frank Grube to Report.”

17 Grube spent the previous two summers playing for a team in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. “Lafayette Athlete to Sign with the Giants,” Shamokin Dispatch, August 17, 1926: 2.

18 Evan Burian, “Life of Frank Grube;” Parke H. Davis, “New Grid Rule Cuts Down Chance of Goal from Field,” Oakland Tribune, April 3, 1927: 6-X; “Presidents Beaten by Lafayette in Hectic Contest,” Pittsburgh Press, October 31, 1926: Sporting Section, Page 2.

19 “Coughlin Drills Lafayette Players,” Allentown Morning Call, March 17, 1927: 19.

20 “Lafayette Nine is Near End of Year’s Schedule,” Pittsburgh Gazette Times, June 5, 1927: Section 3, Page 11; and “Lafayette’s Crack Battery Signed by John McGraw,” Scranton (Pennsylvania) Republican, June 8, 1927: 17.

21 “Lafayette’s Battery to Report to Giants,” Pittsburgh Press, June 2, 1927: 29.

22 “St. Louis Cards Send for Grube,” Allentown Morning Call, March 9, 1928: 29.

23 “Cards to Give Paul Koch Trial,” Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette, March 10, 1928: 7.

24 “St. Louis Cards Send for Grube,” Allentown Morning Call, March 9, 1928: 29; and “Asst. Coach Grube of Dickinson, Guest of C.S. Kelchner,” Lebanon (Pennsylvania) Daily News, March 7, 1928: 8.

25 “Two Former Players Will Be Parted,” Allentown Morning Call, March 28, 1928: 20.

26 The Allentown Morning Call reported that Grube was hitting .378 at the time he was sold to Hartford, but calculations of the daily box scores from the Richmond Times-Dispatch yields a .310 average. Grube was hitting .378 after the May 15 game, which was likely the most recent figure available to the Morning Call. The Portsmouth and Petersburg teams ceased operation on June 4, and when no other league would take on the two remaining teams—Richmond and Norfolk—they released their players two days later and the Virginia League was through. “Frank Grube Sold to Hartford Club,” Allentown Morning Call, June 3, 1928: 14; and William T. Christian, “Colts Leave for Homes or New Jobs as Pro Baseball Here Dies,” Richmond News Leader, June 6, 1928: 10.

27 “Pirates Beaten by Hartford, 2-1,” Pittsburgh Press, June 11, 1928: 32; and Albert W. Keane, “Bridgeport Carries Successive Wins Record to Ten by Beating Senators,” Hartford Daily Courant, June 16, 1928: 12.

28 “Frank Grube is Now with Williamsport Club,” Allentown Morning Call, June 19, 1928: 19.

29 “Grube’s Error Wins for York,” Scranton Tribune, June 20, 1928: 14.

31 Records for the 1928 Yankees football team are both incomplete and inconsistent. Some sources indicate Grube scored one touchdown in 1928, while others show he only kicked one successful point after touchdown. “Frank Grube,” Pro Football Reference (website), accessed December 23, 2021, https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/G/GrubFr20.htm.

32 “Baseball and Football Players,” Baseball Almanac (website), accessed December 23, 2021, https://www.baseball-almanac.com/legendary/baseball_and_football_players.shtml.

33 “Probe Switch of Franchise,” Berkshire (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Evening Eagle, January 14, 1929: 12.

34 Albert W. Keane, “Hartford Senators Sell Elbert Slayback and Catcher Grube to Bridgeport,” Hartford Courant, January 13, 1929: 1.

35 “Grube Played Fine Ball for Bridgeport,” Allentown Morning Call, October 21, 1929: 24.

36 “Grube, Buffalo Catcher, Leads Team in Hitting,” Reading (Pennsylvania) Times, March 29, 1930: 16.

37 Joining Grube as International League All-Stars for 1930 were James “Ripper” Collins and Paul Derringer, who would win World Series rings with the St. Louis Cardinals the next year, and George “Specs” Toporcer, who had won one with the Cardinals in 1926. “Rip Collins, Card Rookie, Hit .376 to Capture Int Batting Honors,” The Sporting News, January 22, 1931: 6; Shandy Hill, “One More Word,” Reading Times, September 26, 1930: 28; and Bill Coughlin, “Buffalo Has Strong Infield, Hard Hitting Outfield, but Pitchers Worry Bison Boss,” Rochester (New York) Democrat and Chronicle, April 14, 1930: 18.

38 Bill Coughlin, “Buffalo Has Strong Infield.”

39 “Baseball War Near in Clash over Draft,” Los Angeles Evening Express, October 11, 1930: 17; and Joseph T. Adams, “Wide Open Split Between Major and Minor Leagues Looms on Draft,” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, December 4, 1930: 18.

40 “Buffalo President Set to Oppose Draft,” Allentown Morning Call, October 9, 1930: 20; and “Buffalo Will Oppose Draft,” Wilmington (Delaware) Morning News, October 9, 1930: 10.

41 “Offerman to Speak on Draft,” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, October 9, 1930: 20; “Buffalo Sells Catcher Grube to White Sox,” Chicago Tribune, September 7, 1930: Part 2, Page 2; and Irving Vaughan, “Expect Hack Wilson to Ask for $40,000,” The Sporting News, January 22, 1931: 1.

42 “White Sox Will Bring Three Dozen Players to S.A. Camp,” San Antonio Light, February 1, 1931: Part 6, Page 3.

43 John C. Hoffman, “Five Catchers Seek Job with Sox This Spring,” Chicago Daily News, January 9, 1931: 23; and “Donie Sings in the Rain,” Chicago Daily Times, February 28, 1931: 23.

44 John C. Hoffman, “Sox Regulars Nip ‘Goofs’ 7-5 in Practice Go,” Chicago Daily News, March 10, 1934: 21.

45 Claire Burcky, “Grube Places Himself High as a Catcher,” Elmira Star-Gazette, March 4, 1931: 14.

46 John C. Hoffman, “Sox Regulars Nip ‘Goofs.’”

47 Siegel was released on March 17, Berg held out all through spring training and was sold to the Cleveland Indians on April 10, and Henline played the final 11 games of his major league career with White Sox in 1931 and was returned to Toledo on July 21. “How Cubs and Sox Bat in Training-Trip Games,” Chicago Daily News, April 11, 1931: 19; “Kamm’s Hustling Cheers Sox,” San Antonio Light, March 17, 1931: 5B; “Moe Berg Fails to Agree with Sox; Goes to Indians,” Chicago Tribune, April 11, 1931: 20; and “White Sox Return Henline to Toledo,” Chicago Daily Times, July 21, 1931: 22.

48 Henry P. Edwards, “Grube Takes Base Runner Spikes First,” San Antonio Light, February 21, 1932: Part 6, Page 3.

49 Emil H. Rothe and Art Ahrens, “History of the Chicago City Series,” Society for American Baseball Research (website), accessed December 28, 2021, https://sabr.org/journal/article/history-of-the-chicago-city-series.

50 Herbert Simons, “Our Hero? Grube, Say Sox,” Chicago Daily Times, October 7, 1931: 26.

51 John W. Keys, “Grimm’s Ninth Inning Double Wins for Cubs,” Chicago Daily News, October 5, 1931: 1.

52 John W. Keys, “Grimm’s Ninth Inning Double;” and Herbert Simons, “White Sox Try to ‘Kayo’ Cubs,” Chicago Daily Times, October 5, 1931: 23.

53 “Fonseca to Turn on His Loud Speaker,” San Antonio Light, March 12, 1932: 4.

54 “Smead a Jolly Flop!,” Chicago Daily Times, March 27, 1932: 58.

55 “Jolley Through as Catcher; To Play Outfield for Sox,” Chicago Daily News, April 2, 1932: 13.

56 “White Sox Trade Jolley, Watwook, Tate to Boston,” Chicago Tribune, April 30, 1932: 17.

57 “Fonseca, 3 Fined; One Suspended,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 1, 1932: 1.

58 Moriarty officiated just one game the rest of the 1932 season. The umpire claimed his absence was the result of injuries suffered in the brawl while many wondered if he was kept from games by league officials. John P. Carmichael, “Ban Gaston and Fine 4 Sox as Fight Penalty,” Chicago Daily News, June 1, 1932: 21; and “30-Day Suspension for All Fights in American League,” St. Louis Star and Times, July 12, 1932: 17.

59 On February 14, 1935, the Allentown Morning Call reported that Grube had been granted a divorce from Jessie—whose “present whereabouts [are] unknown”—after the two separated on January 13, 1934. The two must have reconciled, as Lorraine is listed as Frank’s wife in the 1940 United States Federal Census as well as Grube’s death certificate. “Sox Backstop Weds in Easton,” Allentown Morning Call, November 25, 1932: 24.

60 Billy Sullivan would catch in eight games beginning in August. Brian Bell, “White Sox Hope to Acquire Position in First Division,” San Diego Union, March 16, 1933: Section 2, Page 3.

61 “Brother of Grube, White Sox Catcher, Drowns in East,” Chicago Daily News, July 31, 1933: 17.

62 Herbert Simons, “Frank Grube Through as White Sox Catcher,” Chicago Daily Times, October 15, 1933: 37.

63 John W. Keys, “Sox Trade Grube; Cubs Get Pitcher,” Chicago Daily News, November 16, 1933: 17.

64 “Catcher Grube is Glad to be With Hornsby,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 23, 1934: 2E.

65 Sid Keener, “Sid Keener’s Column,” St. Louis Star and Times, July 3, 1939: 6.

66 “Rollie Hemsley in Street Fight; Suspended and Ordered Home,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 23, 1934: 1B.

67 James M. Gould, “Brownies in Tie for Fifth After Beating the Senators Twice,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 27, 1934: 2B.

68 “Browns Purchase Pitcher Van Atta, Dispose of Grube,” St. Louis Star and Times, May 16, 1935: 23.

69 “Two Games Today,” Chicago Tribune, June 16, 1935: Part 2, Page 2.

70 “Grube Surprises Sox,” Chicago Tribune, February 22, 1936: 23.

71 “Grube Surprises Sox;” and Herbert Simons, “Sox’ Grube Easy on Grub; Pares Pounds for Job,” Chicago Daily Times, February 23, 1936: 50.

72 Irving Vaughan, “Haas is Ready,” Chicago Tribune, March 4, 1936: 25.

73 “White Sox Get Rensa, Catcher; Release Grube,” Chicago Tribune, November 10, 1936: 23.

74 “Texas League Camp Notes,” Shreveport (Louisiana) Times, March 18, 1937: 13.

75 “Steers Land Young Backstop from Browns and Sell Grube,” Dallas Morning News, May 17,1937: Section 2, Page 2.

76 “Orioles Game is Rained Out,” Baltimore Sun, May 18, 1937: 18; and Randall Cassell, “Cissell Influence Factor in Oriole Wins,” Baltimore Evening Sun, June 14, 1937: 25.

77 “Two for Bisons,” Ottawa (Ontario) Citizen, June 21, 1937: 13; and “Birds Sign Grube to Help Catcher,” Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, August 13, 1937: 30.

78 John B. Foster, ed., Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guide 1938 (New York: American Sports Publishing, 1938), 134, 138, 147, 150, 176, and 179.

79 Wilbur Adams, “Senators Get Worst of Thirteen Deals Since Close of 1938 Season,” Sacramento Bee, December 28, 1938: 14.

80 Elton Dickson, “Grube Appointed Jonesboro Manager, Succeeding Tolles,” The Sporting News, June 29, 1939: 6; and “NEA League All-Star Team,” Caruthersville (Missouri) Journal, August 31, 1939: 3.

81 “Zack Taylor Forced Back into the Harness,” San Antonio Light, August 31, 1940: 7.

82 “Fielding Averages,” The Sporting News, December 5, 1940: 7.

83 “Grube to Assist Browns’ Catchers,” St. Louis Star-Times, February 20, 1941: 22.

84 “Grube Gets Contract,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 12, 1941: 1B; and “Galehouse on Bench with Injured Leg,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, February 27, 1941: 3B.

85 “Cats Here for Final 1941 Series,” San Antonio Light, August 26, 1941: 6B.

86 Evan Burian, “Life of Frank Grube.”

87 “Ex-Ballplayer Grube Shot in Thugs’ Error,” New York Daily News, July 2, 1945: 6; “Frank Grube, Former Big League Catcher, Shot by Hold-Up Men,” Allentown Morning Call, July 2, 1945: 13; “Ex-Ball Player Dies of Wound,” New York Daily News, July 3, 1945: 6; and “Frank Grube Dies After Shooting in New York,” Allentown Morning Call, July 3, 1945: 9.

Full Name

Franklin Thomas Grube

Born

January 7, 1905 at Easton, PA (USA)

Died

July 2, 1945 at New York, NY (USA)

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